Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An Active Silence

A couple days ago, I had one of those days. The kind when the kids are screaming, running, and beating each other up, all while the baby is screaming and dinner is burning. You know, the kind of day that gives you flashbacks to that old Calgon commercial slogan, "Calgon, take me away!" Yup, that was where I was at. I had taken all I could. I had a migraine developing, and the kids didn't let up. Times like that, I wish I could have a life "pause" button, so I could just push it and get a few moments of respite. Unfortunately, life has no such button.

I like silence in times like that. But, there is another type of silence that I can't really say that I enjoy. It's God's silence. As much as he loves us, there are times that he remains silent. Those times when it seems that prayer is hitting the ceiling and bouncing back at you like a superball. Those times when the storms seem to be ever-increasing in their rage, yet the Lord is seemingly asleep in the stern of the boat.

David felt like that. In fact, he penned these words in the 22nd Psalm during his own time of silence that he endured: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" David had lived for many years as a fugitive on the run from King Saul. David hadn't committed any crime to warrant such treatment. He was the target of an extremely jealous, unstable king. Saul knew that David had been called by God to replace him on Israel's throne. And, he resented him for that. So, David was on the run most of the time.

I can see how those times can get to you. They can make you think and believe things that really aren't true. Those times, and I have experienced them, can cause us to feel that even God has abandoned us. We get angry with him. "Can't you see what I am going through, Lord!?" has escaped my lips more than a few times, I must admit.

This verse from the Psalms was also spoken out by Jesus, as he hung on the cross, beaten to a pulp, resembling raw hamburger on a stick. Having the sin of the world hung on him, as he hung there dying, he cried out to his Father in heaven, "Why have you forsaken me?"

Of Course, Jesus knew why he was there on that cross. Yet, even while dong God's will, it can get lonely, can't it?

That brings me to my main point today. I have been thinking a lot about Jesus' trip into Jericho. He healed a blind man on the trip in, but once in the city, the Bible doesn't mention any miracles. Crowds followed him, yet he didn't heal anybody. We don't read of any demons being cast out. No dead people being raised. It would almost seem a wasted trip if it weren't for one event that day in the city. The salvation of Zacchaeus.

Here was a man who was despised by the Jewish folks of the day. He was considered a traitor, working for the hated Romans as a tax collector. He would rip off the people and force them to give more money than they were supposed to. He got rich on the backs of his fellow Jews. Not the nicest guy on the block.

Yet, something in him must have sparked when he heard that Jesus was in town. Maybe he heard of the miracles. Perhaps word had reached his ears ahead of Jesus of the blind beggar healed just outside of town. Whatever got Zac's attention, he decided he wanted to see this Jesus for himself.

So, he climbed in a tree, seeing he was rather short, so he could catch a glimpse over the crowd. And as the Lord walked by, he looked up, called Zacchaeus out, and the rest is history. He got saved, and showed it by his actions of restitution to those he had so shamelessly fleeced.

What would appear to be a just a casual, ordinary stroll through the town square was anything but. The heavens were moved that day more than any dead person being raised or sick person being healed. Salvation came to someone, and nobody saw it. That's what can happen in the "silent" times, when God doesn't seem to be working on our behalf. If we could just step back and get the mind of Christ in our trying times, we would understand that "all things work together for good for them that love God, to the called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28.

Friends, don't despise God's silence. If you truly love him, and seek him, he is with you. Keep your eyes on his Kingdom, and his Righteousness, and even when he doesn't let on that he is working, just know that he is. If God is for you, who then can be against you?

God bless!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Greetings From Florida!

Hey all! Just a quick hello from the bright sunlit Central Florida. This is now my new home. We have been here in Lakeland for a couple weeks now, and we are getting used to it. We love it here.

Anyway, I am without internet access at home right now, so, I am restricted on blogging for a while. I am using the college pastor's office PC to write this. I am going through writer's withdrawal! Anyway, be praying for us friends! God bless!